The best way to prepare for a hike is to hike. However with the last two months of the calendar year upon us, the daylight hours shrink with every turn of the calendar. Sunrise yesterday was 8:07 and sunset was 6:34, so I arrived at Twin Creek shortly after sunrise with the hope of putting in a long hike (logged in 27 miles!). The weather was a little cool but I bundled well (great socks, warm hat, UnderArmour, and my favorite mittens). Within five minutes on the trail, I was incredibly comfortable. The sun was so enjoyable. When it blasted through the clouds (which it did often) it made the fall colors in the trees come alive. The yellow trees, in particular, just seem to glow in the sun’s rays.
So many leaves have fallen providing a carpet for the trail. I like the rhythmic sound I make as I trek through colorful array of leaves. I sure didn’t sneak up on any wildlife but I felt somewhat enveloped by the beauty of nature. God provides such variety and the seasons paint a different portrait on very familiar paths. No two hikes look the same because the scenery changes shape, color, and sound. How cool it is to be outside soaking it all up.
I ran into a troop of Boy Scouts today. The best I could tell, the scouts were enjoying several skill stations set up by their leaders to help them use their scouting knowledge. Over the course of two miles of trails pairs of scouts had to hike from station to station accomplishing various tasks. It was good to see the boys engaged in cool activities and the adult leaders sharing their skills. I got some strange looks from the scouts… I think it might have been because I was hiking with a full pack on a 2 mile loop trail… but maybe it was the strange sight of an old man wearing mittens and sandals!
No wildlife today except for the woolly caterpillar that joined me for lunch. This must be the week for these fuzzy friends because I must have seen 50 along the trail. Getting back home I checked out my luncheon partner and discovered that she is also known as a woolly bear or banded wooly bear. No butterfly from this caterpillar…actually it is the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth (isn’t it amazing how smart a google search can make you sound). According to folk wisdom, when the brown bands on fall woolly bears are narrow, it means a harsh winter is coming. The wider the brown band, the milder the winter will be. My friend seemed to whisper a few flurries and mild temperatures – I think she was just pulling my leg.